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Work begins on community health plan

GTNS photo by David Hotle



Wellmark director of community health improvement Mary Lawyer displays some of the ideas that volunteers brainstormed during the healthy hometown master plan meeting Tuesday.
GTNS photo by David Hotle Wellmark director of community health improvement Mary Lawyer displays some of the ideas that volunteers brainstormed during the healthy hometown master plan meeting Tuesday.

About 20 people gathered Tuesday afternoon to create a health and well-being vision for Henry County as part of the Wellmark Healthy Hometown initiative.

In the Henry County Hospital Health Education Center conference room, the members of the public worked together to create a vision of what Henry County would look like in the future. The information provided by the members was collected and will be used to help design a master plan to promote community wellness. Members of Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC) teamed up with facilitators from Wellmark to begin designing the program.

“We really want this plan to be a plan for Henry County,” HHCC director Kelly Carr said. “Many of us went through the comprehensive planning process for the City of Mt. Pleasant. Some of these initiatives were put in the city’s comprehensive plan. That is not as much of an action plan as this. We are hoping this will be an action plan we are using; the chamber is using; Iowa Wesleyan is using; schools in this county are using. All of us will have these little pieces and are working together.”

Wellmark facilitators Jim Cushing and Mary Lawyer asked the people who attended to split into teams to discuss ideas on how to improve the programs three goals of “eat well, move more, and feel better” in each of the Henry County communities. During the workshop, many of the ideas discussed dealt with making the community more inclusive and welcoming. Having multigenerational inclusion was stressed. With Henry County being overall a walking, biking and hiking-friendly community, the goal was to take wellness to the next level.

Having fitness options for the winter was also discussed.

Safety was an important part of the discussion. Making sure people knew they were safe when they went outside for physical activity was identified as an important goal.

The next meeting will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 8 in the lower lever of the Henry County Extension office. During that meeting the topics identified at the meeting will be prioritized for the county and a basic plan of action will be determined. The county is expected to have a rough draft of its master plan during this meeting as well. The visioning process is expected to take about three months.